Update of Cost Information on Clinch River Breeder Reactor Project

EMD-81-112: Published: Jun 26, 1981. Publicly Released: Jun 26, 1981.

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GAO was asked for updated figures for the cost and schedule data which had been provided by the Energy Research and Development Administration (ERDA) on various licensing scenarios for the Clinch River facility. ERDA and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission provided more recent data to update the information.

The current cost estimate for the Clinch River breeder reactor plant is based on the licensing assumption that the plant will resume where it had stopped in 1977 and that initial plant operation will be achieved by February 1990. To pick up the Clinch River licensing process where it stopped and to issue a construction permit would probably delay construction by 3 years as now estimated by DOE and would probably require a congressional exemption from the provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act. The second licensing scenario considered assumed that the licensing process would be completely restarted. It would not be plausible to restart the licensing process for the Clinch River project since the license application has never been withdrawn. Thus, no cost and schedule data have been provided in this case. The third licensing scenario considered, relocation of the plant to another site, would result in a 43-month delay in the current schedule and in a delay of almost 3 years of the initial starting date. The amount of the associated cost increase would depend on which alternate site was chosen.

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